SHOALHAVEN RIVER – FEBRUARY 2015
Long Point Track > McCullum’s Selection > Shoalhaven River > Secret Campsite #1 > return to Long Point Track
This was going to be the last walk for Jimmy for a while before Mel had the baby, so, sons Jimmy & David, daughter-in-law Tanya and my grandson Bailey all decided on an overnight walk down to the Shoalhaven with me. Tanya’s first overnight walk!
The were a lot of supplies to be bought, David wanted to make sure that Tanya’s first experience was a memorable one. He planned a wonderful dinner and brought all the fixings for all of us, plus bottled wine! Jimmy and I had our usual Goonie.
We arrived at Long Point around mid-morning and took a look out over the mighty Shoalhaven, then started down the tourist track. It’s pretty easy going and we took our time, admiring the views. Bailey has taken to overnight walking like a duck to water so there were no concerns there. David, whilst he’s been on a few was carrying more than he possibly should (a lot of “extras”) so he was struggling a little.
We got down to the flat of McCullum’s selection and walked towards the river, I couldn’t quite remember where to cross but eventually found the spot and we all walked down to just above the rapids. On the way I found a milk crate that must have been swept downstream during recent high waters, so we picked that up and took it with us, it would be a useful seat to sit on in camp and I’d walk it out the next day.
Water looked a little high, bugger, I hadn’t checked the river levels before I left and there had been rain a while ago. Well, I really didn’t want to stay the night at McCullum’s selection (not a nice campsite) I was pretty determined to get across the river, so I was the crash test dummy, dropped my pack and waded out into the middle. Yes, it was a little higher than normal but I figured that if I could get across ok (the shortest person in the group), then the rest would be ok. Unfortunately I’d forgotten to mention to them to waterproof their packs, so that was a bit of a problem but David and Tanya simply shouldered their packs. I encouraged them to get sticks (a lot easier with a stick) but only Jimmy took up the suggestion. I went over first with Bailey, then David and Tanya, Jimmy followed and then David went back for the milk crate.
They seemed to take the swift water in their stride and we were soon walking downstream to our lovely campsite, a lovely large sandy bank with casuarinas and a little grass, PLUS, there were rapids to float down. We quickly set up camp, got the fire going (for the roast lamb dinner) then settled ourselves in. The day was perfect, hot enough that we were soon swimming in the river and enjoying the rapids.
The lamb was gently roasting along with the potatoes (and cans of peas), and then David opened the wine. The chairs that David had carried in were a good idea and Jimmy and I shared the milk crate.
It was a perfect ending to a great day! Next morning we broke camp and made our way back to the river, I’d strapped the milk crate onto my pack (a bit like a turtle shell), and crossing the river with my pack on my back was a challenge, maybe I should have crossed sideways so there wasn’t as much thrust from the water! Anyway, we all made it across, and started on our trek up hill.
Walking in with a lot of gear is one thing, walking out with it, and all up-hill is another. I don’t think David realised when we walked down the hill that we’d have to walk back up the next day! I think his final words near the top were “I’m never doing that again!” Mind you, he will probably forget it soon enough, at least I hope so! A great weekend kids, thanks for coming with me AND I scored a milk crate, you can never have too many of them.